Today's assisted living facilities and how they differ from our preconceptions

April 2, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.

Over the years, senior care facilities have gotten a bad rap. And in the past, that bad rap was certainly deserved. Senior care facilities focused less on senior care and more on senior neglect. It was fairly common for residents to suffer from serious physical and mental problems without getting the help they needed. There was little emphasis on ensuring a healthy diet, with the most inexpensive food possible served, regardless of its nutritional value.

Fortunately, assisted living facilities have made a huge turn-around in the past few years. Today, a senior home provides a comfortable atmosphere in which residents live in an independent manner without sacrificing health and wellbeing. There are a number of ways in which facilities accomplish, the following being the most common:

Exercise Programs

Just because people are older doesn't mean they should give up on exercise. If anything, exercise grows more important the older a person gets. Research shows that daily exercise can help seniors to retain mobility for a longer period of time. Senior care facilities have found that it is easy and beneficial to implement exercise programs. The programs incorporate cardio activity, stretching, balance and strength training. Seniors can consult with doctors and physical therapists to find out if it is safe to begin an exercise program and which classes are okay to take.

Fun Outings

Although some residents of assisted living facilities are able to drive, the majority of residents are less mobile. As such, they rely on the help of others to get out and about. Today's assisted living facilities understand how easy it is for residents to go stir crazy from being couped up in a small room all day. Residents are invited to participate in regular outings to all kinds of places. Some outings are more practical and involve activities such as visiting the grocery store. Others are planned so that residents can enjoy a change of scenery. Examples of such destinations include local parks, shopping malls, bingo parlors, restaurants and theater performances.

Trained Staff

One of the greatest benefits of living in a senior care facility is the constant availability of well-trained staff. If a resident ever gets into an accident, there will be nurses available to provide proper care right away. In addition to certified nurses, many senior homes employ physical therapists, dieticians and other experts in geriatric care. These staff members know how to work with seniors to keep them healthy and happy at all times.

Community Feel

Physical ailments are not the only unfortunate side effect of old age. An unfortunate number of seniors are living in complete isolation. Research shows that social isolation can quickly lead to depression and deteriorating physical health. Today's senior homes provide all kinds of social outlets to prevent loneliness and depression. Activities are planned so that residents can better get to know each other. Staff members are always happy to listen to the concerns of residents. And senior homes encourage family members and friends to visit as often as they possibly can.

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